Archive | March, 2013

Beauty is in the Eye of the Flamingo

26 Mar

Handmade gifts are the best, right?  Don’t you love receiving a gift that someone you care about has painstakingly fabricated with their own two hands?  And it’s the thought that counts, even if you don’t totally adore the gift . . . right?

Muuwaaaahaaahaaa UNLESS the gift was made with pure malice and EVIL by your cunningly handy sister!  Muuwaaahaaaaahaaaa!  My friends, may I introduce to you . . .  My sister’s birthday present . . .

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A little back-story may be in order here.  My sister HATES pink flamingos.  She thinks they are the tackiest animal on the face of the earth.  So naturally, she despises those lovely plastic pink flamingos that grace the gardens and yards of home everywhere.  What’s worse than an ugly plastic flamingo?  A BEJEWELED plastic flamingo!

If you want to make one of your own, because well why the hell not, right?  All you need are an ugly plastic flamingo, 1500 crafts jewels, a LOT of hot glue, and a lot of patience.  This bad boy here took me about 6 hours to bejewel, and is the reason I no longer have finger prints.  And since I ended up with 2 of these flamingos, of course I HAD to make a 2nd one!  Any takers?  Hehehehe

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Road Trip!

21 Mar

When I was a kid road trips meant piling the family into the Suburban and driving for hours and often for days.  We didn’t have DVD players, tvs, MP3 players, hand held games . . .  I was probably 12 or 13 before I even had a Walkman!  So family trips meant my mom had to come up with some resourceful ways to keep the 3 of us quiet in the car because my dad had a hell of a hot temper!  One trip we rented a large RV, so we could move around and play board games and not be sitting practically on top of each other.  I assume that was the least stressful trip for my mom!

Today, even with MP3 players, DVD players and Nintendo DS systems it can be hard to keep kids occupied in the car on long trips.  A parent needs to arm themselves accordingly or risk wanting to strap their children to the hood like a hood ornament!

We’ve taken many road trips with the boys over the years.  It’s always me who has to hand out snacks, change movies and pick up trash they throw on the floor because Daddy is driving.  Until tomorrow.

The boys and I are talking a road trip without Daddy.  That’s right, I’m flying solo on this one.  Yikes.  But it’s not really that scarey, I mean I’ve taken the kids places many time by myself.  Just never for a 9-10 hour trip like we are doing tomorrow!

While a little nervous about the drive-mostly just being the one who is navigating-I must say I am well prepared due to my years as a child riding on long trips as well as my many MANY trips with my kids.  I know what works for us, and what has left me with a splitting migraine.

  • Stop as little as possible.  We stop for bathroom breaks, during which EVERYONE has to use the bathroom.  Otherwise 10 minutes after pulling away from the gas station you will hear “Mooooooom!  I have to peeeeeee!”
  • We pack our own food.  It’s cheaper, healthier, and you don’t waste travel time sitting in a restaurant, or trying to FIND one!  If we need to stretch or the kids are getting antsy, we stop at a rest stop and eat picnic style and let the kids run around.  But NOT if we are traveling in the dark!  Only during the day and only rest stops in a well let and busy area.
  • We don’t buy snacks when we stop for bathrooms and gas.  We have snacks packed, we don’t need to waste money on junk at the gas station!  Same goes for drinks.  We have a cooler with drinks.
  • I pack special items the kids don’t know about.  I buy a couple movies out of the $5 bin at Walmart, I get a new coloring book and new markers, maybe a little stuffed animal.  Last time we took a road trip I bought each kid a new Look and Find book and a travel size Etch-a-Sketch.  When they started getting cranky, out came the surprise to pull them back into happy land.  It’s never an expensive toy, just something little and fun that they can use in the car.

Here is how we packed:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the cooler

  • Sandwiches made ahead, but cheese separate so it doesn’t get mushy.
  • Cottage cheese and canned fruit in Take and Toss bowls with lids, spoons taped to the top. (I know you can buy fruit cups, but they are too full and the juice spills.  I scooped the fruit with a fork so I wouldn’t get much juice in the bowls.  Less mess)
  • String cheese individually packaged

In larger Tupperware containers (one for Mommy, on for the kids)

  • Frozen Gogurts- they will stay cold for hours
  • Granola bars
  • Cracker packs
  • snack size bags of peanuts and almonds
  • pre-peeled Clementine oranges in snack bags
  • apples
  • Crystal Light packs for mixing in bottled water
  • mini rice cakes for me
  • corn tortillas with turkey and cheese for me
  • a few packs of cookies and fruit snacks

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It’s a lot harder for me to travel since I cannot eat gluten.  Packing my own snacks and lunch food means I can eat.  There aren’t many gluten free options available at gas stations or fast food joints!  Packing our own snacks and lunches also means that I control what the kids have to choose from.  Fruit, water and individual milks are way better than sugary drinks and chicken nuggets!  A few little treats thrown in, but for the most part they will be eating healthy.

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For entertainment I have array of coloring books, puzzle and maze books, dry erase books, cameras, Look and Find books, Etch-a-Sketch, Little C’s VTech tablet and Big A’s DS.  They each have a little lap desk with pockets to hold their crayons and markers.  We have the dual headset DVD players and plenty of movies, as well as the secret new movies and 4 secret Beanie Babies that a friend gave me.  I think we are ready for our trip!  Wish us happy travels!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kids Art Frame

14 Mar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASorry I’ve MIA, life caught up with me!  But don’t think I haven’t been busy crafting and DIY-ing . . . because I have!

My kids make all sorts of cute projects between school, the library craft time and with me at home.  We have a gallery in the hall that we hang their little works of art on.  We also hang them in windows and in their rooms.  But I like to be able to hang some of their masterpieces in the playroom as well.  I don’t want to do/buy artwork for the playroom, since it is their special room, I think they should be able to display their own artwork there!

We made these cute changeable art frames to hang in the playroom so the boys can hang whatever special works of art they want on their own.  These were totally FREE to make with simple supplies we already had lying around!

The back of the frame is actually from a storage cubby I bought and put in Little C’s room for toys.  They give you these thin plywood type backs to nail to the back of the cubby to keep toys from falling out.  Well, we decided not to use them so they were just sort of lying around the house.  I thought they would make great art frames!   If you don’t have these at your disposal, you could use any other piece of wood, cardboard, a dry erase board . . . whatever you want.

Little C chose craft pom poms to glue around the outer edge to create his frame.  Big A chose craft glass marbles.  I hot glued 2 clothespins to each frame for the boys to clip their art in.  I also wrote “Look What I Made” at the bottom.  Now the frames-which are works of art all on their own-hang proudly in the playroom for the boys to hang special projects.  They can easily change out their art as often as they want!

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Play With Your Food!

5 Mar

I’ve been trying to incorporate learning into Little C’s craft projects lately.  Since he is home with me all day instead of going to daycare I feel like he may miss out on some important stuff.  We’ve been working on ABCs. counting, colors etc.  Colors are very challenging for him as he is red/green colorblind just like his daddy.

We’re hoping if we continue to do Springy projects the weather will take a hint and things will warm up around here!  We decided to play with fruity Cheerios, which are basically Fruit Loops with a LOT less sugar.  Little C wasn’t to sure about it at first, being I always tell him to eat his food, not play with it.  He warmed up to the idea pretty quickly though.

First we sorted our Cheerios by color-red, orange, yellow, green and purple.  He did better than I thought he would, only got slipped up a few times.

After sorting our colors (and eating a few) Little C started gluing the Cheerios onto a piece of blue construction paper to make a rainbow.  We glued cotton balls on for the cloud.  It turned out very cute!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When the rainbow was all done Little C wanted to know what other kinds of things we could do with our Cheerios.  We did some counting, but he was really wanting to glue more food to paper!

I made some letters on construction paper with glue, and he stuck Cheerios and cotton balls onto the glue letters.  He really liked that, and while he was gluing we talking about all the words that started with each letter he did.

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I wonder if there are any projects we can do with a big, juicy T-bone steak?

Melted Bead Sun Catchers

4 Mar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I had a terrible, throbbing headache for several days last week.  The kind that makes even a whisper seem like someone is using your head as a bongo drum.  The kind that makes it very difficult to be home with a rambunctious 3 year old all day.  I needed a quiet activity that would keep him busy and quiet long enough for my Advil to kick in.

Little C and I, thinking Spring and sun, made some cute little sun catchers using plastic craft beads and muffin tins.  Here’s how it’s done:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Do NOT grease the muffin tins.  Create designs in your muffin tins using the craft beads.  We had quite a few designs, as well as a few cups where Little C just packed in as many beads as he could.  You only want to cover the bottom of the tin with your designs.  The thicker you pack them in, the longer they will take to melt and cool.

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Bake the beads at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until fully melted.  The beads stink a little as they are melting, but not nearly as bed as I thought they would.  I cracked a window even though it was pretty cold out, just to ventilate for a while.

When the beads are all melted, remove the muffin tins carefully from the oven and set them somewhere safe to cool.  Little C was anxious to take them out, but you have to let them fully cool and harden or you are going to get some nasty burns!

Once they are cooled and hard again, there are a number of ways to get them out of the tin.  You can place it upside down on a towel on a hard surface.  The towel just softens their fall so they do not break.  The tapOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA the tin until they pop out.  Or, you can use a butter knife and simply press down on the edge of on of the sun catchers until it pops out.

I drilled holes in each little disk using a very small drill bit in Handy Hubby’s power drill.  Then we strung them up with fishing line and hung them in the window!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese would make really cute gifts, and maybe even a cool necklace!